'Jurassic World': What the Critics Are Saying
After 22 years, the park is finally open in this sequel to the beloved dino-franchise.
Fourteen years since its last installment, the Jurassic franchise returns and the park is finally open, as Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard aim to stop a rampaging hybrid dinosaur from wreaking havoc.
Taking the reins of the tentpole franchise is big-budget newbie director Colin Trevorrow (whose only previous feature is 2012's indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed) with a screenplay co-written by Derek Connolly as well as Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film also stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Johnson and Ty Simpkins.
With no other major films to offer competition this weekend, Jurassic World is slated to have a big opening, with experts projecting $125 million or more.
Read what top critics are saying about Jurassic World:
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says the film "can reasonably lay claim to the No. 2 position among the four series entries, as it goes down quite a bit easier than the previous two sequels." Though "not terribly scary, and closer to PG than R in its frights and gore, Universal's big summer action release is sufficiently toothsome to make audiences everywhere happy for a return visit to a once-wild world that superficially looks as safe and domesticated as a Universal Studios tour."
But "despite the story's formulaic structure and the predictable nature of its cautionary stance on playing God, the old-fashioned Saturday matinee-like pleasures stemming from resourceful derring-do in the face of mighty odds retain an appeal — if done reasonably well — which is the case here." However, "the romance, such as it is, between the watered-down Indiana Jones type appealingly played by Pratt and the corporate mouthpiece less engagingly embodied by Howard, never gets off the ground."
There is, however, "a certain low-key affability about Trevorrow's approach that marks him a likeable humanist rather than a director determined to hammer the viewer into submission, which unfortunately is what you feel with too many giant franchise projects such as this. This is, after all, a story about humankind's fallibility, hubris and inclination to bring destruction upon itself, and one at least feels little tremors of this awareness leaking out between the creatures' deafening stomps and roars."
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw calls it "a terrifically enjoyable and exciting summer spectacular: savvy, funny, ridiculous in just the right way, with some smart imaginative twists on the idea of how dinosaurs could be repositioned in a consumer marketplace where they are almost commonplace, and how the military might take a sinister interest in weaponising these scary beasts." Pratt "gives a tremendously likeable performance," while Howard "brings her kind of intense presence to the part. In fact, it is she who has the faintly raptorish presence, especially when her retroussé nose is seen in profile." The film "is a world of fear and fun."
The New York Times' Manohla Dargis writes, "there's more flab than muscle packed on this galumphing franchise reboot, which, as it lumbers from scene to scene, reminds you of what a great action god Spielberg is. Too bad he didn't take the reins on this. ... Blowing minds rather than, you know, telling a good story is the driving imperative" in the film. Howard's character "mostly just schemes and screams, before [Pratt's character] Owen melts her like an ice cube on a hot griddle, proving that, yes, she's every bit as bad as Joss Whedon thought when on Twitter he called out Jurassic World as sexist: ‘She's a stiff, he's a life-force — really? Still?' Yes, still." The film "isn't in dialogue with its cinematic reference points; it's fossilized by them. From the first shot of a dinosaur hatching (signaling new beginnings, etc.) to one of a massive aquatic creature chowing down on a great white shark (get it?), it is clear that the only colossus that's making the ground shake here is Spielberg."
Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips gives the film two-and-a-half stars, noting it "gets by, barely, as a marauding-dinosaurs narrative designed for a more jaded audience than the one Jurassic Park conquered back in 1993." The "romantic banter between Pratt and Howard needn't have been quite this lame," and the film "futzes a couple of key attacks," though it "recovers with a satisfying series of comeuppances in the climax, involving the park's largest (and presumably angriest) attractions."
Washington Post's Ann Hornaday labels the film "a super-size, self-referential, drastically uneven addition" to the franchise. It is "a meta-commentary on the movie industry itself," in which "the filmmakers seem to be saying, but don't blame us if it all goes kerblooey in a nonsensical, hyperbolic Grand Guignol of CGI mayhem and overkill." The "viewer's only recourse is to brace oneself and try to process the ever-escalating, utterly nonsensical madness and mayhem."